Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Antonine Maillet - Acadian Avenger // A Modern Day Evangeline

Antonine Maillet is one of Canada's best-known writers. The soul of contemporary Acadian literature, Maillet has been responsible for generating pride in her people through her stories depicting strong-willed Acadians. She was the first non-French citizen to win the Prix Goncourt.

 "I have avenged my ancestors," said author Antonine Maillet in 1979 with the publication of her book Pélagie-la-Charrette. Maillet broke new ground and became the voice of disenfranchised Acadians. She would tell the sad tale of the Acadian expulsion in the 18th century. She would also write about mothers, a washerwoman named la Sagouine, bootleggers, fishermen, dreamers — struggling to exist alongside the English majority.  

Maillet was the first author to write in the Acadian vernacular, a language derived from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French. Her body of work helped define the Acadian culture, a culture which, over two hundred years, successive governmental powers have tried to destroy. Her best-known work, Pélagie-la-Charrette (1979) dramatizes the exodus that occurred in Canada after the British destroyed a settlement of French-speaking Acadians in 1755 and dispersed the people along the eastern coast of North America. Some, such as the Cajun in Louisiana, formed new settlements, but many surreptitiously made their way back to Canada.

Maillet is an inspiring Acadian woman who is known to be the spokesperson for the Acadian people.  She still continues to give presentations today. Antonine gives voice to Longfellow's character - Evangeline - and adds her own flavor of Acadian strength through her own Acadian character, Le Segouine.   This interview is ten minutes long but worth every second to watch it. Please listen to Antonine’s timeless message of encouragement, hope and wisdom for women and all people to give them strength to “reach beyond the stars”.... 

Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Last updated: April 22, 2006.

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